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UPN's Enterprise: Letter-boxed 16:9 (1 Viewer)

SeanA

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I am a Trekky and yet not a big fan of Enterprise, but I was excited to see how it would look in widescreen now that I have my new Samsung digital receiver for OTA reception. What a disappointment... the local UPN station appears to have letter-boxed UPN even though the show is widescreen. I have gray bars on both sides and black bars on the top and bottom.

Am I correct that they are forcing the show into 4:3 format and not broadcasting it in HD ??? If so, why would they do this to a show that is recorded in 16:9 ???
 

SeanA

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Hey Guys,

I've been away for a little while, but thanks for the feedback.

Just wondering why Enterprise would be 16:9 format if it is not HD ? What is it taped in HD, but UPN does not broadcast it in HD ?
 

Jonathan Dagmar

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My guess is that it is being shot on film, probably super 35, reason being that it is one of the first shows being produced with future DVD releases in mind. It's a good bet they are recording the audio with a 5.1 mix in mind as well.
 

Michael Reuben

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Just wondering why Enterprise would be 16:9 format if it is not HD ?
I'm sure Enterprise is shot with HD in mind. It just doesn't happen to be broadcast in HD, at least in the U.S. Given UPN's financial problems, is anyone surprised that it isn't springing for HD broadcast facilities?

I'm moving this to TV.

M.
 

Jeff Kleist

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Enterprise is mastered in HD, the problem is that very few UPN stations have HD broadcast capability. When I talked to my local UPN programming director about Buffy's pre-emptions with emergency sporting events, I asked if they were planning on showing Enterprise in HD now that they have the equipment in place. He told me that UPN only sends the stamdard (non-anamorphic) NTSC master out on their feeds, and that they might do an HDTV test run in May (this was back in the fall) with Enterprise. Frankly I'm guessing that not enough UPN stations are HD ready for them to bother, and frankly I have my doubts that they're going to spend the satellite time to broadcast an anamorphic version for the few stations on DTV either.
 

Dan Hitchman

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HD is not anamorphic. It's frame is native 1.78:1. DVD has the anamorphic enhancement feature because it was originally designed for 1.33:1 TV's.

Dan
 

RobertR

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HD is not anamorphic. It's frame is native 1.78:1. DVD has the anamorphic enhancement feature because it was originally designed for 1.33:1 TV's.
Dan,

When I had my CRT front projector set up by an ISF tech, I saw very clearly that HD material was stretched vertically, and that the projector's picture had to be vertically squeezed by 25% to make the picture correct. This is exactly the same procedure that is used for anamorphic DVDs. So HD IS anamorphic (or, to put it another way, it requires the same squeezing for 4:3 TVs that DVDs do that are "enhanced for 16:9 TVs"). This is exactly what I was told to expect by Guy Kuo when I first bought my DTC-100 HD receiver, and my experience with my current front projector and my previous one confirms what he told me.
 

BrianW

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Robert, you're right. On a set that is capable of displaying both anamorphic and non-anamorphic material, HD should be treated as if it were anamorphic, just like an anamorphic DVD.

But Dan is also correct. Technically, HD is not anamorphic since it displays in the correct aspect ratio on native HD display equipment. Since HD is its own standard, and not an "enhancement" of a "non-anamorphic" standard, it is what it is by definition. And by definition, it's not anamorphic - it's just, um... "wider" than NTSC television.

So even though it's not anamorphic, don't expect to have it display correctly on an NTSC-capable set unless you treat it as if it were anamorphic.

Clear as mud? I thought so. :)
 

Hanson

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Well, anamorphic DVD's have the same horizontal resolution regardless of whether it's 4:3 or 16:9. True HDTV has full 16:9 resolution.

Anamorphic refers to the fact that the source is horizontally distorted and then optically reconstituted by stretching the image back into proportion. Both 1080i and 720p are 1.78 ratio resolutions.
 

Dan Hitchman

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Yup, many rear and front projection CRT sets squeeze the rasters in order to get a 1.78:1 image from 1.33:1 guns, however the HD format is digital and it's two main resolutions, 1080 and 720, equal approx. 1.78:1.

Dan
 

Adam Lenhardt

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I tried to watch this show when it originally aired on UPN but quickly lost interest. I've decided to revisit it now on Paramount+, and fill in my knowledge about the origins of Starfleet.

1x02/1x02 - "Broken Bow"
I actually really liked this two-part series opener. First Contact ended with the arrival of the Vulcans and the promise that the whole galaxy was opening up for humanity. These episodes paint a more complicated picture: The Vulcans did indeed come in peace, but for the century since first contact they've been carefully managing humanity like a preschool with reckless toddlers. In their view, they are protecting both humanity from the galaxy and the galaxy from humanity. The Vulcans don't intend to let the humans really branch out from their home solar system until they've deemed them ready. But when a Klingon crash lands on Earth and is nearly killed by a trigger-happy farmer, Starfleet's administration decides not to let a crisis go to waste, and assigns humanity's first Warp 5 vessel to bring the Klingon home.

At this point, humanity's maps of the cosmos are limited to what they can see via telescopes. The Vulcans use their star charts as leverage to get one of their own assigned to the mission, so that they'll have eyes and (pointy) ears aboard for a mission that they already feel is illogically premature. It wouldn't be a Rick Berman-era Star Trek show if there wasn't a female supporting lead in a skintight body suit, but T'Pol introduces a complex power dynamic into the mix. One gets the sense that Earth was not exactly a high-profile appointment at the time, and getting assigned to this mission in particular was an unwanted babysitting job. But over the course of the mission, the humans exceed her preconceptions, and she finds herself giving them more aid and support than she'd planned on. She is perhaps the first Vulcan who really starts to understand humanity's potential.

The wounded Klingon leads to another unorthodox appointment: The Denobulan doctor invited to Earth as part of a Vulcan medical exchange program is the only doctor available with the knowledge to effectively treat the Klingon. Over the course of the mission back, his more extensive medical knowledge proves invaluable as humanity takes its first halting steps into the wider galaxy. And Dr. Phlox, for his part, gets to see a lot more interesting medical emergencies than he would have back on Earth.

I liked Scott Bakula as the captain, too. Yes, he's a bit vanilla. But he's vanilla in the way that a contemporary NASA commander is vanilla: He's the face of humanity's interstellar exploration, so of course they're going to want somebody who is low-risk and competent. That doesn't mean he's entirely conventional, though; he's willing to risk having a Vulcan spy aboard in order to leverage her knowledge, level head, and dependable track record.

The only part I didn't love with the insinuations of a Temporal Cold War driven by a shadowy figure from the distant future. The Berman/Braga era already had drastically overused time travel as a plot device. And the temporal intervention right in the first episode means that the entirety of the Prime continuity is basically an alternate timeline from the original; the adventures of Kirk et al wouldn't have played out -- or at least not as they did -- if the arrival of the Klingon hadn't moved up the NX-01's launch date and changed up who served as XO/science officer and chief medical officer.

1x03 - "Fight or Flight"
This episode focuses on Ensign Hoshi Sato, one of Earth's preeminent xenolinguists, as she adjusts to life aboard a starship on a mission into the unknown. There's a metaphor with a space slug, their first extraterrestrial life, that's a bit overwrought.

While Warp 5 is incredibly fast by our standards, space is vast and they've been going for a long time along the course approved by Starfleet, and they've yet to run into anything really interesting. That changes when they come across an alien vessel. Boarding the vessel via shuttle, they discover 15 corpses dangling from hooks, being drained of a specific body fluid.

T'Pol points out the pointlessness of hanging out and waiting for whoever did this to return, and Archer reluctantly resumes course at Warp 3. But his decision to leave weighs heavily on him, and eventually he turns the ship around. They board the vessel again, and begin deciphering the species' language and technology. They are ultimately able to send out a distress signal so that at least their bodies can be retrieved.

But before they can depart, the fluid drainers arrive and we see just how unprepared the Enterprise is for hostile contact. Their torpedoes bounce right off of the hostile vessel's shields.

Fortunately, the distress call they sent out was answered, and another vessel better equipped to defend itself in this part of space arrives on the scene. Unfortunately, there is significant miscommunication that needs to be worked out. But the communications officer rises to the occasion and humanity gets relations off to a friendly start with the Axanar, a species mentioned but not seen in TOS and TNG.

1x04 - "Strange New World"
An episode about rookie mistakes. The Enterprise comes across its first Class-M planet, and they're eager to get down to the surface an explore. T'Pol cautions that Vulcans have a seven-day protocol to ascertain that a planet is safe before venturing out. Archer says screw the protocol. When T'Pol, Trip, Mayweather, and two crewmen camp overnight, they get caught in a hurricane that brings in toxic spores that cause paranoid hallucinations. Aboard the Enterprise, the Doctor must figure out a solution. On the ground, the stranded and infected campers must survive the night without killing each other.

I liked Crewman Cutler, who is given more personality than most of the interchangeable away team members usually are.

The story itself is pretty standard issue Star Trek: caves, mind-altering events, a ticking clock. But it felt better grounded here, because the whole thing was preventable if the Enterprise had just taken the time to do things right. It's a good lesson, and a luckily non-fatal reminder that space is usually out to kill you, and it's up to you to make that not happen.

1x05 - "Unexpected"
Overall, this episode is built around a pretty trite and one-note joke: "Haha, a man is pregnant!"

But that doesn't mean it's devoid of virtues. The Xyrillians were one of the more alien humanoid extraterrestrial species I've seen in "Trek", with a different atmosphere and different ways of thinking about ship design.

The appearance of a holodeck, two centuries before they'd become standard aboard Starfleet exploration ships, is an example of how contact with other civilizations can rapidly accelerate technological innovation. Even though the Enterprise didn't bring the technology with them, they still documented the engineering principles underpinning it. And it also demonstrated how a warlike race like the Klingons could have advanced so far technologically; they encounter weaker civilizations with technology they desire, and they demand that technology in tribute. The holographic technology acquired here likely led to Klingons being able to cloak their ships by the Kirk era.

I like the design of this Enterprise, and how it much more closely aligns with contempoary ship and submarine design. There is far less empty and wasted space, which makes everything feel more cramped. Even the captain's quarters here are less spacious and furnished than a lieutenant's quarters in the TNG era. Certain things, like the officers' wardroom being a small room off of the main galley, ring true to what little I know about naval design.

So far, every episode has been a valuable learning experience for the crew. I like that, too. This is humanity's baby steps into the unknown, and I feel that in the stories being told. And because the NX-01 is so primitive technologically compared to most of the other species they're encountering, getting through situations requires more ingenuity than being the flagship of a major galactic power.
 

Matt Hough

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I enjoyed the first two seasons of the show. I lost interest when the focus turned to romantic relationships among the crew rather than the adventures in the galaxies and the ever-advancing technologies.
 

Sam Favate

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I was lukewarm on the show when it aired, for the first three years. (The fourth year I loved.) But I watched it on DVD a few years later and had a new appreciation for it. Even more so when I saw it on blu-ray after that. It’s a great show.
 

joshEH

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I enjoyed the first two seasons of the show. I lost interest when the focus turned to romantic relationships among the crew rather than the adventures in the galaxies and the ever-advancing technologies.

That's a pretty strange assessment of the show, because the third and fourth seasons are arguably the most "adventuresome" of the entire run -- in Season 3, the yearlong Xindi-storyline gave Star Trek it's very first season-spanning arc in its entire history (presaging modern Trek shows like Picard and Discovery), with the starship on its own and unable to get support from Earth, while Season 4 is the most TOS-like of the series, giving us solid prequels to quite a few original series episodes, in a very TOS-like style.

Also, ENT very much did deal with advancing technologies in its last two seasons, including episodes like "Daedalus" (addressing the safety struggles of early transporter-tech before it eventually got refined to its 23rd Century-point), the Augment-trilogy (dealing with genetic engineering, and why the later Federation kept the early bans in place), and the Aenar-trilogy (setting up the oncoming Earth/Romulan War, and how the Romulans used highly-advanced, neurally-controlled ships to fight that particular conflict).
 
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Matt Hough

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I'm operating on a decades old memory so you'll have to excuse me. I'm just trying to recall how I felt at the time. I was also not a fan of the lengthy story arcs (common now) rather than single story episodes. Different strokes.
 

Sam Favate

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One of the things Enterprise did so effectively in its fourth season was to have several two- and three-episode arcs. They didn’t take over the whole season and were great for building tension and character.
 

David Weicker

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One of the things Enterprise did so effectively in its fourth season was to have several two- and three-episode arcs. They didn’t take over the whole season and were great for building tension and character.
I like Enterprise a lot,

But I hated those mini-arcs. Every damn week they couldn’t end a story.
Even when a story seem to end they had to screw it up by inserting a cliffhanger for the next arc
 

Adam Lenhardt

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1x06 - "Terra Nova"
This was another episode that really hammered home what a game charger the more advanced warp engine designed by Archer's father is.

The SS Conestoga was launched six years after Zefram Cochrane's first warp flight on the Phoenix. But with warp engines that were only marginally faster than the speed of light, it took nine years to get to this Class-M planet that -- at less than twenty light years away -- was in Earth's galaxic backyard, so to speak.

But Warp 5 is more than 200 times the speed of light, turning a nine year journey into a journey of a little over a month.

And what happened to the colony on Terra Nova is a good encapsulation of the dangers of life on the frontier. The colony was nearly wiped out because the first colonists chose the wrong continent to settle on.

I liked the care taken with the subterranean Novans' culture. Their English was limited to the vocabulary of the four and five year olds who would have survived the initial radiation, and then that limited vocabulary was adapted in more sophisticated ways in later years based on the limitations of their experiences inside the caves. They have music, but their instruments are made from the hollowed skulls of the "diggers".

We also get T'Pol introducing in Archer's mind some of the foundational ethical principles that will eventually lead to the Prime Directive -- first and foremost, that he doesn't have the right to impose his values and choices onto another people, just because he's got the means to do it.

Nice guest work from Erick Avari and Mary Carver as the chief and matriarch respectively of the cave dwellers, too.

My only real issue with this episode is the order. If Terra Nova is less than 20 lightyears from Earth, and the mystery of what happened to the colony had fascinated humanity for the previous seven decades, wouldn't that have been the first thing they'd have investigated after the events of "Broken Bow"? But episode two made it pretty clear that they'd been traveling weeks if not months along a Starfleet-approved course and found nothing of note.

1x07 - "The Andorian Incident"

I don't think anybody will be all that surprised at the way this episode ends, but it's still a good episode for developing T'Pol as a character and the geo-political situation in this corner of the galaxy.

Even though they're sort of goofy looking, the Andorians were one of Star Trek's first attempts at making humanoid aliens that looked really alien, instead of just human with pointy ears and pointy eyebrows, or Fu Manchu facial hair.

There's also something fun about our first introduction to one of the founding species of the Federation being an armed conflict with another founding species of the Federation. It points to how far off the events of the original series are, and how much growth all of the species need to make.

The Andorians are paranoid about the Vulcans' superior technology and controlling natures. And, as the surveillance facility revealed at the end attests, they have reason to be paranoid. One gets the sense that the Vulcan intelligence operation isn't so much sinister as characteristically cautious. From the Vulcans' perspective, the Andorians are unruly children who must be kept in check.

Regardless of the intent, this is bound to make Archer (and United Earth) more suspicious of the Vulcans going forward. But it also highlights some key differences: Vulcans have been interfering with the Andorians' development far longer than they've been interferring with humanity's development. But in just a century, humanity has been far more successful both at engaging with the Vulcans in a constructive way and at finding ways to circumvent the Vulcans' attempts at limiting humanity's technological development.

We get another great Jeffrey Combs performance as the commander of the Andorians. He's incredibly good at acting through the makeup and prosthetics, and it's nice to see him playing a character who has the potential at least to be an ally for Archer and his crew.

But the most crucial moment comes when Archer forces T'Pol to choose between her loyalty to him and her loyalty to her people, and she chooses her loyalty to him. It speaks to a certain confidence in his leadership. And perhaps a belief in the Enterprise's mission, which has already surprised her with regard to humanity's resourcefulness. At minimum, she curious about what they will accomplish, and doesn't want to give up her front row seat to the action.

1x08 - "Breaking the Ice"
This episode furthers the ongoing tension between Vulcans and humans. Archer, so eager to prove that humanity can punch above its weight, has to eat humble pie by the end of the episode. But T'Pol, after backing out of her arranged marriage, chooses to eat actual pie, of the pecan variety.

I liked the video recording to the school kids back in Ireland. It's the kind of thing that NASA does, and it's the sort of thing one would expect of Earth's first exploratory starship. And we also get some insights into how the ship functions. It still has regular showers and flush toilets, but the waste from said toilets gets repurposed for certain types of limited replication. While the ship doesn't have TNG-era replicators, there are certain compounds in food that can be replicated with their technology to supplement what can be grown on the ship, and what is stored on the ship and brought from home.

I enjoyed the snowman on the surface of the comet, with Vulcan ears.
 

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